Opening monologues on “Saturday Night Live” usually aren’t much to write home about. Usually they just feature a celebrity doing a few goofy jokes or a song and dance routine before yelling “We have a great show for you tonight! [Insert musical guest here] is in the building! Stick around, we’ll be right back!”
But Dave Chappelle is not your normal “SNL” host. In his first major TV appearance since ending “Chappelle’s Show” in 2006, Chappelle calmly strode out to the “SNL” stage as the crowd gave him a standing ovation. Instead of sporting the usual clip microphone, he came out with a hand mic and proceeded to turn his monologue into a 10-minute standup routine that hit on a variety of topics… including the elephant in the room.
“I didn’t know Donald Trump was going to win the election,” Chappelle said. “But I did suspect it. Seemed like Hillary was doing well in the polls and yet… I know the whites. You guys aren’t as surprising as you used to be.”
Then he jumped from one topic to another, from the post-election riots in Portland (“I watched a white riot in Portland… news said they did a million dollars’ worth of damage. Every black person watching was like, ‘amateurs.'”) to the death of Harambe. (“The Cincinnati police said shooting that gorilla was the toughest decision its department ever had to make. I said, ‘You’re about to see a lot of n—– in gorilla costumes then.'”) You also won’t have to worry about whether this election will cause him to leave the country again like he did when he left “Chappelle’s Show.” “No, I’m good,” he quipped. “I’m going to get this tax break, see how it works out.”
As for being wealthy, Chappelle talked a little bit about his relationship with money. “First time I got some money, it didn’t work out like this. Most unlikely thing happened ever, a black president came out of nowhere like, ‘Come on everybody, let’s start thinking about everyone else.’ Aw, n—-, I just got this money!”
Then Chappelle ended his monologue not with a joke, but with a story. He talked about how a few months ago he attended a White House party sponsored by BET, and noted that all of the attendees were black, “except for Bradley Cooper, for some reason.” He talked about the history of black people being allowed to visit the White House, and how for over 150 years, the only black man allowed in the White House was Frederick Douglass, who had to be personally escorted in by Abraham Lincoln after being barred from the entrance.
“It didn’t happen again, as far as I know, until Roosevelt was President,” he said. “He had a black guy over and got so much flack from the media that he literally said, ‘I will never have a n—– in this house again.’ I thought about that, looked at that black room, saw all those black faces…and Bradley…and I saw how happy everybody was, these people who had been historically disenfranchised. It made me feel hopeful, and it made me feel proud to be an American, and it made me hopeful about the prospects of our country.”
“So in that spirit, I’m gonna wish Donald Trump luck, and I’m gonna give him a chance, and we the historically disenfranchised demand that he give us one too.”
You can watch Chappelle’s monologue in the clip above.